Lear: The Shakespeare Company Plays Lear at Babylon

LEAR  comp.jpg
LEAR  comp.jpg

Lear: The Shakespeare Company Plays Lear at Babylon


By Mike Johnson


A plague driven band of vagabonds and beggars, calling themselves The Shakespeare Company, arrive at the decaying little town of Babylon, where they perform King Lear in a whirl of mayhem and madness. As the night proceeds, they spin out of control, embodied by their roles.

Narrated by the girl Curan, a minor character, this novel is part black comedy, part tragedy, part carnival, and implicitly dystopian. It is a bizarre and disturbing novel of a plague society in social and moray decay. A novel that challenges the reader at every turn.

Erotic, eerie and disturbing, Johnson's novel reinvents the emotional dynamic of Shakespeare's play, as in a distorted mirror. It does not, however, require knowledge of the play to work it's magic as a piece of fiction.

‘Johnson makes an original contribution to the literature of disaster, and certainly to the nation's literature that still struggles beneath the mantle of social realism; he does it by the sheer intensity of his poetic vision, combined with an adroit meta-fictional sense... 

In this fallen world, does falling matter? Johnson’s novel is an exuberant, artful meditation on this question…' David Dowling, Landfall.

‘He has achieved a kind of ‘worldmaking’ that confirms his position as one of New Zealand’s most important fiction writers.’  Jody Dalgleish, on the novel Travesty, Landfall.

‘One of the most innovative, original and fearless writers I know.’ Witi Ihimaera, on the novel Stench.

Add To Cart